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Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Is Fundraising off the Ohio Train Disaster

The senator, who has received donations from the rail company responsible, is suddenly pretending to care.

Ron Johnson shakes someone's hand as supporters stand around him with signs that read "Ron Johnson for US Senate." A camera is in the background.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Senator Ron Johnson

Infamous tax-evading trust fund benefactor and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is fundraising off of the Ohio train derailment, a disaster he has played no role in helping to prevent and no role in helping to address.

On Monday, Johnson sent out an email from his Senate campaign with the subject line, “Have you noticed the silence around the train derailment too?”

“I fear we barely know the impact this disaster has caused. Nearby wildlife are dropping dead, fish are dying up and down the Ohio River and this is probably just the beginning,” Johnson’s email read. “We need answers and we need them NOW. But … the media is barely covering this.”

Apparently, Johnson hasn’t kept up to date with the myriad of outlets, including TNR, that have been actively covering the impact this disaster has caused. If there’s silence, Johnson himself seems to be part of it. Forget actual political advocacy; the senator’s two Twitter accounts have posted nothing about the derailment, or rail policy generally.

A button in the email also encouraged users to share their thoughts on why the media isn’t covering the story and fill out their contact information, presumably to build up Johnson’s newsletter list.

Despite his best efforts to pretend, the Wisconsin senator does not have a history of exhibiting any actual pro-worker, pro-rail safety concerns. In 2022 alone, Johnson received $7,500 from Norfolk Southern, the rail company responsible for the disaster in Ohio. Johnson is also most famous for evading millions in federal taxes, buying his Senate seat with even more millions brought from a company he inherited from his wife’s brother, and using his position to get $215 million in tax deductions for his two biggest campaign donors.

And he has maintained his wealth-favoring ideology in the sphere of rail policy too. One of the few rail-related bills that Johnson has co-sponsored was a bill introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses backed by the Association of American Railroads; the bill sought to delay the industry-wide implementation of a monitoring system to help prevent train collisions and derailments. Norfolk Southern is among the companies represented by the association.

As if Johnson’s shameless impersonation of someone who actually cares about rail safety wasn’t enough, he concluded the email by asking for the reader to help pay off his campaign debts. “I hate to ask this, but will you help me finally see this campaign through to the end so I can double down on our Conservative efforts in the Senate?”

Why Is the Most Powerful Member of the House Handing Over January 6 Footage to Tucker Carlson?

Kevin McCarthy’s decision shows how little he cares about Fox News’s long-standing gag on its own viewers.

Tucker Carlson sitting at a table makes a weird face and air quotes with both hands

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has gifted exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from the January 6 attack on the Capitol to Fox’s Tucker Carlson. According to Axios, Carlson’s producers visited Capitol Hill last week to begin their endeavor of poring over the tapes. The footage is said to begin hitting the airwaves on Carlson’s shows in the coming weeks.

McCarthy’s treat to the extremist TV host comes as part of the numerous concessions McCarthy made to a select group of far-right Republicans in exchange for their speakership votes. He pledged to make all the security footage from January 6 public, which apparently means tying it all up in a bow for Carlson to exclusively and selectively present on his shows to construct conspiracy theories with.

One of McCarthy’s bargaining intransigents, Representative Lauren Boebert, hailed the decision:

Again, however, despite Boebert’s celebration, funneling footage of a domestic riot to only one member of an extremist media organization is not releasing the footage to “the public.”

McCarthy’s gift to Carlson comes while newly revealed texts showed that Carlson and many of his Fox News colleagues, like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, don’t really buy much of the conspiratorial content surrounding the 2020 presidential election that they themselves push.

As Fox producer Justin Wells texted Carlson’s producer: “We’re threading a needle that has to be thread because of the dumb fucks at Fox on Election Day. We can’t make people think we’ve turned against Trump. Yet also call out the bullshit. You and I see through it. But we have to reassure some in the audience.”

McCarthy’s decision shows he supports Fox’s long-standing gag on its own viewers. Fox anchors like Carlson and members of Congress like Boebert will posture the move as an act of radical transparency, suggesting the clips to be newly unearthed as if the January 6 hearings didn’t already show Americans and the world the havoc of the riots.

Perhaps the move is an attempt to dilute the reality of how violent the riot was: just present thousands of hours of inaction or argue that the larger majority of protesters were simply expressing their First Amendment right to free speech. Maybe Carlson will spend dedicated segments railing against the Capitol police, trying out ways to blame those defending the Capitol and divert blame away from the people attacking it. Whatever Carlson plans to do with the tapes, the move by the most powerful member of the House to coordinate with an extremist media giant is audacious enough to warrant its own “Twitter Files”–esque outrage from those who claim to take issue with such actions—but don’t hold your breath.

Norfolk Southern Has Thrown Roughly $100 Million Into Politics Since 1990

If you’re wondering how the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, happened, here’s one clue.

An aerial shot of 11 cargo trains are jammed into one another in a zig-zag pattern. Smoke billows.
The site of a derailed Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio

In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan summed up everything you need to know about American politics: “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” And the rail industry has certainly fulfilled that idea, spending more than $756,700,000 to lobby the government since 1998, according to data from OpenSecrets. In other words, railroad companies have thrown three-quarters of a billion dollars, or more than Poland’s current GDP, toward currying favor with the government meant to oversee them. This gargantuan figure does not include an additional nearly $100 million in direct campaign contributions over that same time period.

And so, as state and federal officials stumble to support residents of East Palestine, Ohio, after the disastrous Norfolk Southern train derailment, and as people wonder how such an incident happened at all, the answer lies, in part, in why the government often stalls to solve many other problems: money.

Take the culprit rail company, Norfolk Southern, for example. Beyond joining its fellow corporations in lobbying the government to strip regulation, like the Obama-era rule that mandated train cars carrying hazardous materials (like those derailed in East Palestine) to have better brakes, Norfolk Southern has also contributed millions of dollars directly to politicians. The $55 billion company has spent nearly $80 million since 1998 on lobbying; since 1990, it has sent about $17 million directly to candidates’ coffers.

The entire rail industry’s spending is largely bipartisan and ever slightly tilted toward Republicans. As far as contributions to Democrats go, the companies generally opt for generically liberal or moderate members.

Some of these donations are especially consequential. Almost half the Republicans on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation received money from Norfolk Southern in 2022; nearly half of the 65-member House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure received money from the company—both Republicans and Democrats. Given that Biden administration officials have admitted that, out of fear of “pushback from industry,” they hope Congress takes the lead on issuing much-needed industry rules, these numbers are not promising.

And the cherry on top of all this “C.R.E.A.M.”? Most lobbyists working to make these giant corporations’ profit-stealing, risk-taking pursuits easier come directly from government work. In 2022, 75 percent of Norfolk Southern’s lobbyists previously held government positions. Some of these individuals worked in the Reagan administration’s Department of Energy, in Senator Joe Manchin’s office, or as a liaison with the Blue Dog Coalition (the House caucus of centrist and conservative Democrats). Some even served in Congress themselves, like former Senators Trent Lott (Republican) and John Breaux (conservative Democrat).

All this influence gives perhaps a bit more color to the government’s eagerness in December to impose a contract onto striking rail workers, whose demands included both necessary benefits for themselves and also prescient safety standards that would make trains safer for the public.

The Trump administration rolling back Obama-era regulations, and the Biden administration still not reinstating them, are pages of a larger story of a nation wedded to capital. Of course, the idea of big corporations buying weaker regulations from our politicians is not unfamiliar in America; it’s a ridiculous-in-its-normalcy dynamic that extends beyond rail, to industries like guns and fossil fuels. Accordingly, just as we are subject to constant mass shootings and climate change–induced catastrophes, we are now coming to terms with the stakes of another pay-to-play-around industry that helps lead to over 1,000 train derailments every year.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Commits Borderline Sedition

It seems the Georgia representative has forgotten about the Fourteenth Amendment.

On Monday, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene showed yet again that she can’t commit to the bit of even pretending to be reining herself in from far-right extremism. Instead, she’s looking to escalate the conservative-fostered culture war into a civil one.

Greene’s call for a “national divorce” comes after the representative has complained over and over again about Democrats apparently trying to “divide” America. It also follows her attempted “rebrand,” as she has tried to straddle the lines between the furthest right parts of her party and some portions of the establishment wing.

The new narrative stems in large part from Greene’s allyship with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as he sought to attain the speakership last month in a historically grueling selection process. The House speakership vote left the Republican leader domineered by a select group of far-right members who secured radical rules changes and key committee spots, even usurping other Republicans who supported McCarthy from the beginning. Greene, though, toed the line, by virtue of having the history she does as one of the ring leaders of that radical caucus while urging members to support McCarthy. She now sits on both the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

Greene, who McCarthy has since said he would “never leave” and “always take care of,” is said to also be attempting this balancing act in order to posture herself up as twice-impeached former President Donald Trump’s 2024 VP pick if he wins. 

Earlier in January, when Greene was asked about her beliefs in QAnon, the representative suddenly distanced herself from one of the key characteristics of her congressional career: reactionary conspiracy.

“Like a lot of people today, I had easily got sucked into some things I’d seen on the internet,” she said. “But that was dealt with quickly early on. I never campaigned on those things. That’s not something I believed in, that’s not what I ran for Congress on, so those are so far in the past,” she claimed.

QAnon supporters were among the most aggressive rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021—an attack Greene herself played no small part in helping to incite. A riot too, that Greene recently claimed she “would have won,” if she and Bannon had a stronger role in organizing it. “Not to mention, it would’ve been armed,” she said.

Win or lose, numerous January 6 rioters were arrested on charges of sedition—an action that Greene herself is whipping up once again with her own seditious tweet calling to split the country. After becoming speaker, McCarthy proudly led a reading of the Constitution on the House floor; it seems Greene was absent for the part on the Fourteenth Amendment.

Greene’s attempts to straddle the lines between the establishment and the most extreme parts of her party don’t actually make much substantive policy difference. Greene can ally herself with McCarthy, or pretend to disavow QAnon beliefs—none of it matters. Even pretending to be “reasonable” in America’s Republican Party just means you may present yourself as only far-right, instead of far-far-right.

The agenda is still largely the same: which is to say, demonize gay and trans people, attack people’s right to choose, and cut social spending that millions of people rely on. In other words, the agenda is to embrace the right-ward shift Trump only accelerated. It doesn’t matter which “wing” a Republican may present themselves to be a part of. Don’t believe it? Try counting how many times any announced or potential GOP presidential candidate—from Nikki Haley to Ron DeSantis, to Tim Scott—have actually, forthrightly said anything bad about Trump, the opponent they’re supposed to want to beat.

Biden Officials Hesitate to Update Rail Brake Guidelines for Fear of Pushback

Asked the disastrous Ohio train derailment, Biden administration officials said Congress should take the lead on updating brake guidelines for trains carrying hazardous materials.

Joe Biden
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Now that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the state’s congressional delegation has finally admitted they need more help from the federal government, the Biden administration is deploying more resources to East Palestine in the wake of a disastrous Norfolk Southern train derailment.

But when asked in a press call Friday about reviving an Obama-era rule mandating trains carrying hazardous and flammable materials to have updated electronic brakes instead of Civil War-era ones, Biden administration officials deferred, saying that they are hoping for Congress to lead such efforts. Citing lawsuits against the Obama-era rule, officials seemed to forget that their boss was elected to be a leader.

Officials even cited opposition from the rail industry as cause for concern in revitalizing the rule.

“We did get strong pushback from industry for that rule in 2016,” said one official. “Additionally from Congress, in pushing back on the [electronically controlled pneumatic brakes] component of the rule.”

Officials did say they are working on proposing rules to require a minimum of two-person train crews, something rail workers have asked for. The Department of Transportation is also developing a rule requiring railroads to provide real-time information on the contents of tank cars with hazardous materials in case of an incident. But the White House did not address plans for the Obama-era mandate on brakes, or specify a timeline for the two rules they do claim to be working on.

In the aftermath of a disaster that has clearly galvanized people across the country, it would be malpractice for the White House to not meet the moment. Rather than wait for Congress,  Biden could declare to the public that these companies, which help over 1,000 trains derail every year, will be held accountable. Press for the rule, force members to show their cards, reap the benefits.

While the White House balks at updating outdated federal guidance, the administration does at least seem to be taking stronger action, now that the Ohio delegation has allowed them to.

The administration is sending medical personnel and toxicologists from the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct public health testing and assessments. Residents continue to have concerns about the air, water, and soil safety in the community, and whether it is safe for them to still be there at all; government-sent epidemiologists, environmental health scientists, and more will be tasked with supporting the community.

The EPA has maintained they will hold Norfolk Southern accountable to cleaning up the site—including soil remediation of the derailment site. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board, alongside the Department of Transportation and other agency officials, are also conducting an investigation into the derailment.

Administration officials claim that, once the investigation is complete, the government “will use all available and appropriate authorities to ensure accountability and improve rail safety.” But it is unclear how far the White House is willing to go to actually lead the charge for reform, instead of waiting to see how much congressional support may magically appear.

In his State of the Union, Biden promised, over and over again, to “finish the job.” But only dealing with this disaster after the fact is not an achievement. The deregulated rail industry helps over 1,000 trains derail every year; any action the administration takes now that is not accompanied with broader systemic change is a failure. The administration is already trying to do the job of supporting people—why not finish it?

Five Other Laws That Rick Scott’s Plan Would Still Sunset

The Florida senator said his plan will no longer end Medicare or Social Security. He didn’t say anything about other federal laws.

Rick Scott
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rick Scott insisted Friday that he never intended to sunset Social Security and Medicare, but his plan to socially and economically overhaul the United States would still affect other laws.

The Florida senator unveiled his 12-step “Rescue America” plan in February 2022. A part of one of those steps was a plan to sunset “all federal legislation” every five years and have Congress re-vote on those laws. He amended that point Friday to specifically exclude Social Security, Medicare, and the U.S. Navy, but the rest of the language remains unchanged.

Scott’s proposed plan is, frankly, implausible. During Donald Trump’s presidency and the first two years of Joe Biden’s alone, Congress passed more than 4,000 laws. Scott’s proposal would include every law ever enacted.

There just isn’t enough time in the world to review every single federal law every five years. But giving Scott the benefit of the doubt, here are five of the many laws that would have to be re-passed under his proposed plan.

1. The Affordable Care Act

Also known as Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 with the goal of making health care more affordable. It also sought to lower medical care costs and expand Medicaid. Republicans have been trying to dismantle the act since it was enacted. Under Scott’s plan, this act would have to be re-voted on and would be unlikely to pass the currently Republican-controlled House. Medicaid requirements could be changed, or the program could be done away with altogether.

2. The Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 to regulate water pollution. Under the law, the Environmental Protection Agency has been able to create pollution-control programs and water quality standards. Scott’s plan would require this law to go before Congress again for a vote.

3. The Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act became law in 1963 and protects against wage discrimination based on sex. It covers all forms of financial compensation, including overtime pay, bonuses, and life insurance. Republicans, however, seem bent on enacting laws that restrict the rights of women and gender minorities.

4. The Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act was signed into law in 1964. It banned racial discrimination in public places and employment, and required that schools and public facilities be integrated. Considering the fact that House Republicans are trying to pass laws that would decrease protections against discrimination, it’s unclear that this act would pass if it had to be voted on again.

5. Laws against child pornography

The United States has multiple laws protecting against child pornography, and all of them would have to go before Congress for a vote under Scott’s plan. These would be likely to pass again, as there have been multiple bipartisan pushes over the years to increase child safety, particularly online. In his plan, Scott insists that “if a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” But if everyone agrees a law is worth keeping, why waste everyone’s time going over it every five years?

Fox News Hosts and Higher-Ups Secretly Mocked Donald Trump’s Election Conspiracy Theories

A new lawsuit reveals text messages between Fox News staffers that show they didn’t believe Trump’s conspiracies, even as they pushed them to their viewers.

Fox News host photos on billboard on giant building in New York. Cars drive by in front.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Fox News personalities Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity, adorn the front of the News Corporation building.

Fox hosts including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity all thought conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 presidential election were a bunch of baloney. At least, that’s what their own words express in newly-surfaced texts released by a $1.6 billion lawsuit against the network.

After twice-impeached former President Donald Trump lost to President Biden, he primed the pump of conspiracy theories about the outcome of the election: fraud, stolen votes, suspicious machines, you name it. Two of the people helping stir up these theories were Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. The pair spent a considerable amount of time pushing a conspiracy theory about election technology companies Dominion and Smartmatic, accusing them of conspiring to flip votes from Trump to Biden.

The theory was, of course, false, and was rejected in court. Afterwards, Dominion sued the pair for defamation and filed a massive $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News for its role in propagating the conspiracy theories and lying to their viewers.

In the latest filing of the lawsuit, numerous Fox employees were revealed to have expressed their concern both about the conspiracy theories, and the purveyors of them—including some even among their own ranks.

“Sidney Powell is lying. Fucking bitch,” Carlson told his producer Alex Pfeiffer.

“Sidney Powell is a bit nuts,” Ingraham texted Carlson and Hannity. “Sorry but she is.”

“F’ing lunatics,” Hannity said about the theories and Fox guests promoting them.

Just as well, even while they may seem to have understood (as even a fifth grader could) the absurdity of these claims, the trio’s hands were still very dirty. On November 12, 2020, in a group chat, the three complained about Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checking a tweet by Trump that mentioned Hannity’s and Lou Dobbs’s broadcasts about Dominion. Heinrich merely pointed out that election officials said there was no evidence of voting system malfunctions. Straightforward enough.

“Please get her fired. Seriously…What the fuck? I’m actually shocked,” Carlson told Hannity.

Hannity responded, saying he had already sent Henrich’s fact-check to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.  He continued “I’m 3 strikes. Wallace shit debate[.] Election night a disaster[.] Now this BS? Nope. Not gonna fly. Did I mention Cavuto?”

Scott texted Fox News Senior Executive VP for Corporate Communications Irena Briganti that “Sean texted me.” “She [Heinrich] has serious nerve doing this and if this gets picked up, viewers are going to be further disgusted.” Heinrich deleted her basic fact-check tweet by the next morning.

Given the Fox’s big three themselves openly hosted and supported these “lunatics,” some of their own coworkers took issue with them, too.

“If Trump becomes a sore loser we should watch Sean especially and others don’t sound the same,” Murdoch wrote in a message to Scott, expressing concern about hosts aligning with Trump and his conspiracy theories.

“Crazy Tucker and crazier Hannity,” Brian Farley quipped about the duo. “Hannity is a little out there,” said Fox SVP and former Trump Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah.

“This dominion shit is going to give me a fucking aneurysm—as many times as I’ve told Laura [Ingraham] it’s bs, she sees shit posters and trump tweeting about it…” Ingraham producer Tommy Firth texted to Ron Mitchell, one of the executives who oversees Ingraham’s show.

Ultimately, the texts reveal how little Fox cares about actually delivering news, or about the consequences of that indifference (like a riot in the Capitol). Moreover, it reveals how little they think of their audience, even while showrunners themselves know they are serving their viewers “bs.”

As Fox producer Justin Wells texted Carlson’s producer: “We’re threading a needle that has to be thread because of the dumb fucks at Fox on Election Day. We can’t make people think we’ve turned against Trump. Yet also call out the bullshit. You and I see through it. But we have to reassure some in the audience.”

Rick Scott Finally Caves, Changes Plan To Sunset Medicare and Social Security

The Florida senator says he didn’t really mean it, okay?

Rick Scott speaking to reporters
Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Rick Scott wants everyone to know that when he said “all federal legislation” should sunset after five years, he didn’t mean programs such as Medicare or Social Security.

The Florida senator has come under fire since the State of the Union, when President Joe Biden called out “some Republicans [who] want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” Although he didn’t name names, it was a direct reference to Scott’s year-old proposal to sunset laws and re-vote on them every five years.

By Friday morning, Scott had amended the language in his proposal to specifically exempt federal entitlement programs.

The edits also included a note directly to Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Note to President Biden, Sen. Schumer, and Sen. McConnell—As you know, this was never intended to apply to Social Security, Medicare, or the US Navy.”

So there!

Biden scored a big win during the State of the Union address when he appeared to get Republicans to agree not to cut funding for Medicare or Social Security. Both McConnell and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy have criticized Scott’s proposal. Even Donald Trump, who tried to cut the programs’ funding every year he was in office, bashed Scott’s plan.

Despite Scott’s sudden about face, Republicans have, by and large, tried to end the entitlement programs since they began in 1935. Since the party took control of the House of Representatives in January, they have been weighing options to slash Social Security and Medicare, ostensibly in order to curb federal spending. GOP lawmakers are threatening to hold the debt ceiling hostage until the federal budget is reduced, and Social Security and Medicare are on the chopping block.

Scott initially tried to deflect Biden’s accusation that he wanted to sunset the programs by doubling down on his plan to cut the programs.

But as he made abundantly clear Friday, that was never actually the plan. Ok, guys?

John Fetterman Checked Himself Into a Hospital for Depression, and That’s a Good Thing

The Pennsylvania senator is seeking care in the public eye, which will surely remove some of the stigma around depression.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman checked himself into a hospital for clinical depression, his chief of staff announced Thursday.

Fetterman was evaluated Wednesday night at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, and his doctor recommended he receive inpatient care.

“While John has experienced depression on and off throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” Adam Jentleson said in a statement. “The doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself.”

Fetterman’s decision to receive inpatient therapy is bound to attract some negative opinions. He was constantly questioned about his fitness for office after he had a stroke during the campaign.

But getting treatment, and announcing publicly that he is doing so, is important. Letting depression go untreated can take a serious toll, both physically and mentally. Seeking care in the public eye will help remove some of the stigma around the illness.

Fetterman was briefly hospitalized last week after experiencing lightheadedness. Doctors said he had not suffered a second stroke.

Fetterman’s wife Gisele praised him for getting treatment. “After what he’s been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John,” she said on Twitter. “I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”

Norfolk Southern Trail Derails in Detroit, Michigan, Days After Crisis in Ohio

This is a sign of our failing infrastructure.

Workers standnear a derailed train
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Workers clean up a seven-car Canadian National Railway train derailment in Detroit, Michigan in 2004.

While residents of East Palestine, Ohio are still navigating the chaotic aftermath of their own Norfolk Southern train derailment, another of the company’s trains has derailed outside Detroit, Michigan. At least six cars were rooted off the track Thursday morning.

The incident occurred in Van Buren Township; the community’s public safety Facebook page reported no injuries, and no evidence of exposed hazardous materials. The page reported that one car contained liquid chlorine, but was not among the six uprooted cars.

“One railcar that derailed contained agricultural grain and the remaining cars were empty. No hazardous material release to soil or waterway (located approximately 900ft to the NW),” Incident Management Specialist Travis Boeskool said in a statement on Facebook. “Norfolk Southern has equipment on-site and is removing/uprighting rail cars. They anticipate having the railcars removed and (the) rail open later today.”

The page also noted an immediate response from numerous officials, including Representative Debbie Dingell who activated FEMA and an EPA response team.

“After the recent incident in Ohio, Van Buren is going to know we are safe before we disengage from this event,” the township concluded.

The far-right already seems to be pouncing on the incident as proof of conspiracy amok, particularly after the derailment in East Palestine.

But in reality, from 1990 to 2021, there were at least 54,539 accidents in which a train derailed, according to the Bureau of Transportation. That is an average of 1,704 derailments per year.

So while it may certainly seem as if these crashes are happening at a suspiciously inordinate pace, that feeling actually just comes from an exposure bias from the media finally directing more attention to our poor infrastructure and accompanying regulation.

In the same way every new day seems to hold the possibility for another mass shooting, or another instance of police brutality, so too does it hold the possibility for another failure of our infrastructure. There’s not some new conspiracy—we’ve had a bad record of standards for years. Maybe with all this attention we can actually do something about it.